Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Speaking truth to a culture redefining
sex, marriage, & the very meaning
of right & wrong
By R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

OVERVIEW:Twenty years ago, not one nation on earth had legal same-sex marriage. Now, access to same-sex marriage is increasingly seen as a basic human right. In a matter of less than a generation, western cultures have experienced a moral revolution. Dr. R. Albert Mohler examines how this transformation occurred, revealing the underlying cultural shifts behind this revolution: the acceptance of divorce culture, liberation of sex from reproduction, the prevalence of heterosexual cohabitation, the normalization of homosexuality, and the rise of the transgender movement. He then offers a deep look at how the Bible and Christian moral tradition provide a comprehensive understanding upon which Christians can build their personal lives, their marriages, church ministry, and cultural engagement. Dr. Mohler helps Christians in their understanding of the underlying issues of this significant cultural shift and how to face the challenge of believing faithfully, living faithfully, and engaging the culture faithfully in light of this massive change.

AUTHOR: R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Considered a leader among American evangelicals by Time and Christianity Today magazines, Dr. Mohler can be heard on The Briefing a daily podcast which analyzes news and events from a Christian Worldview. He also writes a popular commentary on moral, cultural, and theological issues at albertmohler.com. He and his family live in Louisville, Kentucky.
MY REVIEW:  Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC, said "This is one of the most useful books I've read in a long time...Student, freshman, campus worker, youth group leader, pastor, professor—read this book and study it with others." I feel the same way. Albert Mohler has written a book to equip readers to face and fight against sin and to do it with compassion and grace.
Albert Mohler is a brilliant scholar and writes with clarity about things that we cannot be silent about.  I especially liked chapter 4 on The Impossible Possibility of Same-Sex Marriage and chapter 7 about What Does the Bible Really Have to Say About Sex?. Chapter 10 answers 20 hard questions and is extremely important.
This is a book you will read, underline, study and then share with others.
(I received this book from Booksneeze a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wounded Spirits
In A Promised Land
By David K. Shipler

OVERVIEW: In 1987, David Shipler won the Pulitzer Prize for this monumental examination of the relationship between Arabs and Jews and the origins of their prejudices. Now, this classic—revised and updated—is more significant than ever. The biases and corrosive interactions that have been building between the two peoples over the past seventy years have only sharpened amid nationalism, terrorism, and war. Focusing on the diverse cultures that exist side by side in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Shipler examine the process of indoctrination that begins in schools; he discusses the effects of socioeconomic differences, the clashes of Israeli and Palestinian historical narratives, religious conflicts between Islam and Judaism, views of the Holocaust, and much more. And he writes of the people; the Arab woman in love with a Jew, the retired Israeli military officer now disillusioned, the Palestinian militant devoted to violent means, the Israeli and Palestinian schoolchildren who reach across the divides in search of reconciliation. Their stories, and the hundreds of others, reflect not only the reality of "wounded spirits" but also the healing inside minds necessary for eventual coexistence in the promised land.

AUTHOR: David K. Shipler reported for The New York Times from 1966 to 1988 in New York, Saigon, Moscow, Jerusalem, and Washington. He is the author of seven books, including the bestsellers Russia and The Working Poor. He has taught at Dartmouth, Princeton, and American University. He writes online at The Shipler Report.

MY REVIEW: Newsday writes, "A rich, penetrating, and moving portrayal of Arab-Jewish hostility, told in human terms." I'm finding this to be true. I feel like I am receiving a major education. This is one of the few times in my years of reviewing books that I am posting my review before reading the entire book. I have read enough that I can recommend this comprehensive work to everyone interested in this important subject. However, I must say that you will have to be a serious student and one that wants to dig deep into the subject. You will also need to be a dedicated reader and one who will persevere. This is not an easy read. Not by any means.

The book has a lengthy forward and introduction and you will need to read both of them carefully before "digging in." Time and time again I found myself having to look up the meaning of words and terms I am unfamiliar with or found difficult to pronounce. I am slowly making my way through this book. When I have finished I should be granted some kind of academic degree. Even though this is not an easy read for me, I realize it will be for some. And many will agree with The New York Times that this is "The best and most comprehensive work there is in the English language on this subject."

(I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Friday, October 30, 2015

Living Your Promised Land Life Now
By Max Lucado

OVERVIEW: Max Lucado says many people underestimate what happened to them upon conversion. Trusting in Christ is more than a removal of sin. It is a deposit of power. You are fully equipped! Glory Days teaches you: How to leave fear and worry behind as you fight from victory, not for victory. How to stop going through the motions and dare to believe your best days are ahead. How to overcome rejection by becoming deeply convinced that you are forever God's child. How to demolish unhealthy mindsets and learn to hear the right voice and make the right choice. How to deal with doubt by recognizing God's Word as the ultimate authority. And how to rebound from your mistakes and put your past in the past.

AUTHOR: More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church.

MY REVIEW: In my opinion, he's done it again. And I am sure that more than 120 million readers will agree with me. Max Lucado has written another splendid book, encouraging Christians. If not all 120 million agree I know that  New York times bestselling author and lead pastor for the National Community Church agrees with me. He said, "This is a message the Church needs and a reminder every believer can use."

In sixteen brief chapters Max helps Christians to see that they have everything they need to be everything God desires. I was encouraged by these words in the front of the book: "These days are Glory Days. My past is past, my future is bright, God's promises are true and his Word is sure. With God as my helper, I will be all he wants me to be, do all he wants me to do, and receive all he wants me to receive. These days are Glory Days."

I agree with bestselling author and founding pastor of Gateway Church that "This book, like all his books, will change your life."

(I received this book from BookSneeze a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Friday, October 23, 2015

Engaging the Bible's Truth
About Life to Come
By Scot McKnight

OVERVIEW: The Heaven Promise answers the most frequently asked questions regarding heaven, including: 1. What About Near-Death Experiences? 2. What About Rewards in Heaven? 3. Who Will Be in Heaven? 4. Is God Fair? 5. Will There Be Families in Heaven? 6. What About Children Who Die? 7. What About Cremation? 8. What About Purgatory? 9. Will There Be Pets in Heaven? 10. Why Believe in Heaven?

AUTHOR:  Scott McKnight is the author of more than fifty books including The Jesus Creed. He currently serves as a professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. A much sought after public thinker and speaker, he blogs regularly at Patheos under the banner of "Jesus Creed." He and his wife, Kris, enjoy life in the suburbs of Chicago.

My Review: The Heaven Promise is now one of my favorite books. Scot McKnight has for a long time been one of my favorite theologians. This doesn't mean that I agree with all that he writes or teaches but I do agree with most of it. That's one of the reasons I like this new book. McKnight is a New Testament scholar and he uses the Scriptures to answer questions about heaven, eternity and the afterlife.

Scott McKnight wants you to know that heaven isn't the construction of a fairy tale or some mythical narrative. It's very real; it's very good; and it's very much the fulfillment of God's promise to you.
This book may not answer all of your questions about heaven but it will answer many of them.

I agree with author John Ortberg. He said, "What a terrific book! Scot lays out the great questions about heaven — What will it be like? Who's going there?— and seeks to address them with biblically grounded wisdom."

"My hope," McKnight shares, "is that people will be hopeful about heaven."

After you read this book I believe you will be hopeful about heaven!

(I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Friday, October 16, 2015

West Covina, California. A wonderful place to be young.

For eight years I lived in ElMonte, California, just a few miles from West Covina.

I preached for a church made up of mostly the elderly. Members that were old enough to be my parents or grand-parents.

AND THEN I moved to West Covina!

The South Hills Church of Christ members were mostly young. My age or younger. I had only been out of college eight years.

West Covina was a wonderful place to be young!

Life was lived on the edge. In the community and in the church.

It was one of the fastest growing communities in California and the nation.

The church membership was made up of school teachers, college professors, insurance salesmen, construction company owners, many other professions, workers and one FBI agent.

We worked hard during the week. Went to the beach for cookouts and football in the sand. Played softball followed by family style picnics on Saturdays.   And worshiped "hard" on Sunday.

Almost everything I said from the pulpit and especially in Bible study groups was challenged.


There is a new sitcom on television about young life in West Covina, California.

I can think of many ways to describe it. I think I will just go with SILLY.  Yes, that's it. Silly!

But maybe the life I was living in West Covina in the sixties was silly. Maybe.

All I really know is that it was a wonderful place to be young.


Friday, October 09, 2015

The Easy-Does-It Approach To 
Vibrant Health & A Slim Waistline
By Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

OVERVIEW: Based on the authors' successful self-published book, this simplified, improved, practical plan shows readers a unique way to lose weight and become healthy by eliminating sugar while still eating hearty, delicious food. The biblically sound and highly effective eating approach centers on Satisfying meals (which include more fats and proteins) and Energizing meals (which include more carbs and proteins) as the keys to success. Scrumptious whole, unprocessed foods—including fats, blood-sugar friendly grains, proteins, fruits, and vegetables—are eating in ways that boost metabolism yet still fit into anyone's hectic lifestyle. The plan is family friendly and effective for pregnant and nursing mothers, pre-or postmenopausal women, and those without weight or health issues—even men and growing children. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHORS: Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison are sisters who share a passion for healthy eating. They both have large, boisterous households and love to experiment in the kitchen with ways to best nourish their families and stay slim and healthy in the process. They were recording artists with a Christian music label and traveled extensively, but they relinquished their touring careers to embrace a life at home with children, dinners, dishes, and diapers. They have never looked back. Learn more at TrimHealthyMama.com

MY REVIEW: I have never liked counting calories. With the Trim Healthy Mama Plan you don't have to. Counting calories is out. All the food groups are in. Although I haven't had time to give this plan a test, it doesn't seem difficult or painstaking.

The authors tout their plan as a breakthrough lifestyle program to help people of all ages and stages get healthy, slim down, and keep off the weight once and for all. Sounds good. If fact, it sounds great! Will it work. I think so. As I said, I haven't had time to test it yet but I am about to. I will let you know.

The book is written in an easy, free flowing style. Some will consider it a little too "folksy". Others will love the warm, down home way of communicating. I liked the fact I could understand what they were saying. The Trim Healthy Mama Plan is divided into four parts. The first part deals with the basics and you really need to start with that to better understand the plan. Part two helps you get started. Part three gives you menus, eating tips and what to expect. Part four closes with trim, healthy and beyond and discusses things like exercise, skin and balance.

This is a good book! Some people will like to read it even if they never try the plan. They just want the knowledge. Others will read it. Try it. And love it. I really enjoyed reading it. I learned a lot. I will give it "the old college try" and let you know what I think later.

(I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Thursday, October 08, 2015


Winston Churchill And The Salvation
Of Free Government
By Larry P. Arnn

OVERVIEW: Churchill's Trial is organized around the three great challenges to liberty that Churchill faced: Nazism, Soviet communism, and his own nation's slide toward socialism. Churchill knew that stable free government, long enduring, is rare, and hangs upon the balance of many factors ever at risk. Combining meticulous scholarship with an engrossing narrative arc, this book holds timely lessons for today. Arnn writes, "Churchill's trial is also our trial. We have a better chance to meet it because we had in him a true statesman."

AUTHOR: Larry P. Arnn is the president of Hillsdale College, where he also serves as a professor of politics and history. He received his BA at Arkansas State university and his MA and PhD in government at Claremont Graduate school. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education and The Founders' Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It.

MY REVIEW: I agree with Lewis E. Lehrman, cofounder fo the Lincoln and Soldiers Institute at Gettysburg College and distinguished director of the Abraham Lincoln Association: "Churchill's Trial, a masterpiece of political philosophy and practical statesmanship, is the one book on Winston Churchill that every undergraduate, every graduate student, every professional historian, and every member of the literate general public should read on this greatest statesman of the twentieth century."

This book is beautifully written by a scholar who has spent a lifetime studying the life of Winston Churchill. "Larry P. Arnn explores the greatest challenges faced by Churchill over the course of his extraordinary career, both in war and peace—and always in the context of Churchill's abiding dedication to constitutionalism." The book is divided into three parts that cover the life of Winston Churchill: War, empire and peace. After reading the preface and introduction I had learned many important things—things that I did not know. I was excited about what I was about to read.

This is an excellent book and one that I highly recommend.

(I received this book from Book Sneeze a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Friday, September 25, 2015

When I assemble with Christians for worship I long for and expect to feel something. That something I felt when I first gave my life to Christ. I don't know what to call it. Maybe passion. Maybe a great joy that comes from feeling bathed in the grace of God.

I want to feel Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty! Not holy moly.

I don't want to struggle with slapping my hands together in time with the worship leader.

I want to be moved with passion to sing praises to God.

To feel tears of joy in the corner of my eyes as I remember the grace of God.

I want to encourage and be encouraged by others like we are reminded to do in Hebrews 10.

Isaiah 6 says, In a great chorus they sang, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty! The whole earth is filled with his glory!"

Yes, I know it was mighty seraphim, each with six wings who sang like that. And I know it was because they saw the Lord sitting on a throne. And I know I'm not a mighty seraphim---not even close. And I know I couldn't stand to look upon the Lord. I know. I know.

But worship leaders have moved me many times by leading with passion and with deep reverence  and respect for the Holy things of God.

Secular sounding music and jazzed up tunes will never move me to HOLY-----just HOLY MOLY, what's happening?


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How Perseverance, Passion,
And Pluck Take You From
Ordinary To Extraordinary 
By Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval

OVERVIEW: In this splendid book Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval talk about what basketball legend Michael Jordan, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and billionaire Michael Bloomberg have in common. Each of these extraordinary individuals was utterly ordinary growing up—no one would have ever predicted their future success. They weren't considered brilliant, talented, or destined for greatness. They failed early and often. But each one had the steadfast determination, stamina, and resilience that propelled them to excel in their field. In fact, new research shows that the secret to success isn't some rarefied "It" factor—it's the 'grit" factor, And each and every one of us can possess it. Grit to Great shows you the real secret to success—and it is something every one of us can embrace and develop, whether you're nine or ninety.

AUTHORS: LINDA KAPLAN THALER is an Advertising Hall of Fame luminary and helped create many of the industry's most iconic campaigns, including Kodak Moments and the hilarious Aflac Duck. Linda was the co-founder and CEO of the Kaplan Thaler Group. She is currently chairman of Publicis Kaplan Thaler, and the coauthor of several national bestsellers, including The Power of Nice  and The Power of Small. She lives with her family in New York City. ROBIN KOVAL is the CEO and president of the Truth Initiative, the national public health foundation dedicated to achieving a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco. Previously a leader in the world of advertising and marketing, Robin is co-founder of the Kaplan Thaler Group, creators of the Aflac Duck and many other well-known campaigns, and was CEO of Publicis Kaplan Thaler. She is the coauthor of the bestsellers The Power of Nice and The Poser of Small. Robin lives with her husband in Washington, DC.

MY REVIEW: Yesterday when I got home from the gym this excellent book, Grit To Great was waiting for me at our front gate. I started reading it that same afternoon and read until I had to put it down. I wasn't able to get back to it until this afternoon, but when I did I read until I finished it. It's good. Very good!

This is not a big book. It only has eight short chapters but they are power packed. The writers keep your interest with the dozens of illustrations and stories about how people have gone from ordinary to extraordinary. These people did this with perseverance, passion, and pluck. Thaler and Koval want you to know that you can too.

I loved the stories of success. And yes, there are many definitions of success. And although I don't admire every person held up as being an example of success or the cause for which they had passion and grit, I do see them ALL as splendid examples of  how grit can move a person to great.

I like what author, James Patterson said, "You don't need to be brilliant or incredibly talented to become hugely successful. But what you do need is to read this book. Grit To Great teaches us all how to develop our grit quotient so almost any goal is possible."

(I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.) 


Monday, September 21, 2015

By Eric Metaxas

OVERVIEW: What makes a great woman great? Seven Women explores the question by telling the captivating stories of seven women who changed the course of history.  Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Maria Skobtsova, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa—each of these world-changing figures followed the call placed on her life, doing so with remarkable feminine dignity. Writing in his trademark conversational and engaging style, Eric Metaxas reveals how the extraordinary women profiled here achieved their greatness, inspiring readers to lives guided by a call beyond themselves.

AUTHOR: Eric Metaxas is the New York Times #1 bestselling author of Miracles, Bonhoeffer, Seven Men, Amazing Grace, and more than thirty other books. He is the host of the Eric Metaxas Show, a nationally syndicated radio program heard in more than 120 cities around the country. ABC News has called Eric a "witty ambassador for faith." He was the keynote speaker at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, and he speaks to tens of thousands around the United States and internationally each year. Eric is a senior fellow and lecturer-at-large at the King's College in New York City, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

MY REVIEW: I agree with author, Karen Swallow Prior who said, "This might be the best book you read this year." Author and speaker, Anne Graham Lotz says that this book offers us a plumb line by which we can measure our faith, our courage to forsake personal comfort, boldness to take great risks, sacrificial compassion for others, and convictions to live—and die—by, just to name a few.

After hearing Eric Metaxas speak on television and at our church and having read three of his books: Bonhoeffer, Miracles and Seven Men, I knew I wanted to read this book—Seven Women. I was not disappointed. Metaxas has the ability to engage readers in the lives of these women and make you want to be a better person. When my daughter heard that I was reading this book she said, "I want to read it when you are finished. I hope many women will read this book and be inspired by it.

When I got my hands on this book I read the introduction and then turned immediately to woman number seven—Mother Teresa. I don't usually begin at the back of the book but I did this time. And yes, I already knew much about Mother Teresa but I wanted to know more. After reading that splendid story I then turned back to the front of the book and read about Joan of Arc. I knew almost nothing about this young woman. I was impressed! Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint Maria of Paris, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa. These are women who will inspire you. No, you will not be "on the same page" with all of these women. That would be impossible. But we can learn, be encouraged and gain something from all of them. This is a book that I recommend to women, young and old but also to men. Read it. You will be glad you did.

(I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publisher (Book Sneeze) in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Friday, September 11, 2015


By Karen Kingsbury

OVERVIEW: "Kingsbury not only entertains but goes a step further and confronts readers with situations that are all too common, even for Christians. At the same time it will remind believers of God's mercy and challenge them to pray for America. The book...reveals God's awesome love and His amazing ability to turn moments of weakness into times of strengthening." (Christian retailing, Spotlight Review.)

AUTHOR: KAREN KINGSBURY is a USA Today and New York times best-selling author, with nearly twenty million books in print. Dubbed the "Queen of Christian Fiction" by Time magazine, Karen has written more than forty Life-Changing Fiction titles. Her emotionally gripping novels include the popular Baxter Family Drama, which encompasses the Redemption, Firstborn, and Sunrise series, as well as stand-alone novels such as Like Dandelion Dust, When Joy Came to Stay, and This Side of Heaven, Karen and her husband, Don, live in Tennessee and are parents to six children, including three adopted from Haiti.

MY REVIEW: Francine Rivers says it much better than I can. She said, "This book tears at the heart and shows, in no uncertain terms, why forgiving an enemy is the call of every Christian." I agree with Gary Smalley, best-selling author who said of Karen Kingsbury, "What a talent! I love her work."

Once you start reading, you will not want to put this book down. A drunk driver. A deadly accident. A dream destroyed. The book tells the story of Hannah Ryan a woman who realizes she has everything. Then a car pulls into Hannah's driveway, bringing two police officers...and devastating news that shatters her life forever.  A drunk driver causes her to have unspeakable feelings of sorrow and rage. He took her loved ones away. In her fury, Hannah shuts the Lord out of her life. She's determined not to forgive the drunk driver or God. You will be drawn into her life and her story and you will be "forced" to continue reading to find out if Hannah can rediscover her faith before bitterness destroys her.

I recommend this book not only because it is a fascinating read but because of the great lessons it contains.

(I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

AMERICA the STRONG—Conservative Ideas to Spark the Next Generation

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Conservative Ideas to Spark the Next Generation
By William J. Bennett and John T. E. Cribb

OVERVIEW: America the Strong shows the next generation five fundamental principles that have made the United States a great nation and why they are worth preserving. It answers more than one hundred questions, from "Do conservatives hate the government?" to "What's wrong with having an open border?" to "Why can't rich people pay all the taxes?"

AUTHORS: William J. Bennett is the former US Secretary of Education and current host of the seventh-ranked nationally syndicated radio program Morning in America. Bill is the author of twenty-four books, including #1 New York Times bestsellers The Book of Virtues and The Death of Outrage.
John T.E. Cribb is an author whose previous work includes The American Patriot's Almanac (co-authored with Bill Bennett) and The Educated Child (co-authored with Bill Bennett and Checker Finn). He has collaborated with Bill Bennett on several books, including The Book of Virtues.

MY REVIEW: America the Strong is one of the best books I have read this year. It is a book that needs to be read by every person interested in conservatives ideals. In my opinion, it also needs to be read by every American. But of course, we know that is not going to happen. Therefore I am just hoping to get this good book into the hands of as many as possible.

William J. Bennet and John T.E. Cribb deal with the distortion that "conservative" means extremist and intolerant. They explain what conservatism really means, using five fundamental principles summarized by the word FLINT:
*Free enterprise,
*Limited government,
*Individual liberty,
*National defense,
*Traditional values
This book explains why conservative ideas are good for our country and supplies clear rationales for taking a conservative stance. It answers more than a hundred questions about conservative positions on issues ranging from immigration to illegal drugs.

(I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I was asked today to name my favorite Max Lucado book.


NO WONDER THEY CALL HIM THE SAVIOR was my first Max Lucado book and my favorite.

It was 1986. Stockton, California. I was sitting in my study at the church building going through the mail. I opened a package that contained Max's book and a brief note. The book had been sent to me as a gift from Multnomah Press. I was surprised. But pleased.

I had never heard of Max Lucado. But I soon learned that he was also a member of the Church of Christ. I was interested.

I opened to the first chapter, THE PART THAT MATTERS.

The words I read had a profound effect on me and changed my life.

Max began by telling the story of a young man named Ian who grew up in the church but became disenchanted and quit. He asked Max, "What really matters? What counts?"

Max asks, "What would you have said to Ian? Would you have spoken on the evil of the world or maybe the eminence of heaven? Would you have quoted John 3:16 or Acts 2:38 or maybe read l Corinthians 13? What really matters?"

"Is this all there is? Sunday attendance. Pretty songs. Faithful tithings. Golden crosses. Three-piece suits. Big choirs. Leather Bibles. It is nice and all, but...where is the heart of it?"

Years later Max was still thinking about the question and he said, "Yet now, years later, I know what I would share with him."

Think about these words from Paul in l Corinthians, chapter 15. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.                         "First importance" he says. 
Read on:
That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

"There it is. Almost too simple. Jesus was killed, buried, and resurrected. Surprised? The part that matters is the cross. No more and no less. The cross."